Inability to receive can be caused by guilt (the belief that you don’t deserve a better life), fear (being afraid of a new situation or identity), or simply lack of awareness (it’s difficult to receive that which cannot be seen).

The possible causes of an inability to receive are endless. The ones mentioned above just happen to be especially common.

Inability to receive could be caused by childhood trauma, limiting beliefs, perfectionism, extreme independence, trust issues…

But in this post we’ll have a look at just three.

If you’ve ever had an inability to receive, chances are the root cause was one of these three.

Inability to receive: possible reasons

1. Guilt (“I don’t deserve it”)

What you have in your life is the direct result of your self-worth — what you think you deserve.

I mean, not literally. It’s not like an inflated self-worth translates to the best possible existence.

But assuming you’re in the right environment, the one that offers opportunities, that offers abundance, then your self-worth will pretty much determine whether you receive those or not.

Do we all believe we are worthy of love, wealth, abundance, and life’s greatest gifts? Absolutely not.

If anyone ever asked, we’d probably say we do. But deep inside, some of us feel that they simply don’t deserve happiness.

The obvious consequence of that is a life where one’s inability to receive prevents them from getting what they want — even when it’s only natural to do so.

2. Fear (“I’m afraid of it”)

Can you really be afraid of a passionate relationship? Could any sane person be afraid of earning more money, success, allowing bigger and better things in their life?

Again, if you try to answer the question from a logical, rational point of view, the answer is a clear no.

But that’s not the truth. The truth is that a better life can be terrifying.

Why? Because subconsciously, we may believe that once we do receive, we won’t be able to deal with it. And we may be right.

For example, a person with a scarcity mindset, someone who has identified as “poor” their whole life, may struggle to develop a new identity when earning more money.

This could lead to issues such as deliberately wasting money, or an identity crisis. Think of lottery winners who develop depression or addictions all of a sudden.

3. No awareness (“I don’t see it”)

Here is the third possible reason for an inability to receive: not being aware, not seeing what you could receive.

Ever noticed that when you’re in love, or in a relationship with someone, you seem to attract other potential partners as well?

Law of attraction, I guess you could say. But there’s a much simpler explanation — once you know something, once you are aware of it, you are able to see it.

Here’s another example: entrepreneurs who notice opportunity wherever they go.

Why doesn’t everyone else do the same? Because they don’t see those opportunities. They are not aware of them.

Depressed people may have forgotten that happiness does exist. Those with a loveless childhood may not know what love is.

Those who have never seen financial abundance, or have never met wealthy individuals, may not even know that it’s possible to be wealthy. And so on.

To recap…

Logically, you would think that one could have issues only with giving, not receiving. But that’s not the case.

Receiving can be just as hard as giving if your mindset doesn’t allow it.

Rationally, you may want to receive love, opportunities, money, happiness — all these things.

But as long as you don’t embrace them, as long as your sense of self doesn’t match those things, you will struggle to receive them.

Or, you may receive them, but in a way that causes you to be unhappy.

Let’s have a look at three common examples.

Three examples

Inability to receive love

Do you believe you are worthy of love? Does the thought of a new relationship make you feel comfortable or uncomfortable?

Have you idealized love so much that you keep looking for the kind of love or partner that… just doesn’t exist?

Do you think that by receiving love, you also become a lot more vulnerable, and that may lead to a whole bunch of problems in your life?

Any of these could cause an inability to receive love.

Inability to receive money

I remember listening to a podcast where an entrepreneur said he had to work on his fear of money and success for years.

Deep inside, he saw the thought of owning a business as a risk, but not financially. He thought his parents would be disappointed. He thought he’d lose friends. He thought he’d have to hide everything from everyone.

He also said that once he was able to challenge his limiting beliefs, that’s when he reached success.

The wrong mindset can lead to an inability to receive money.

Inability to receive help

Years ago, I used to suffer from severe depression. All I had to do to get out of it would have been to ask for help. But I didn’t.

Why? Because there was a part of me that was terrified of changing. Even though depression was something I clearly wanted to get rid of, it almost became part of my identity.

So my question to you is: has your current life become who you are? To the point where you no longer even ask for help, because the idea of change is too scary?

Fear of change can lead to an inability to receive help.

Each of us has an inner thermostat setting that determines how much love, success, and creativity we allow ourselves to enjoy. When we exceed our inner thermostat setting, we will often do something to sabotage ourselves, causing us to drop back into the old, familiar zone where we feel secure.

Gay Hendricks